How Age UK West Sussex's Information & Advice team changed Molly's life
Some years previously Molly had bought outright a permanent mobile home and “retired” to the coast. It sounded idyllic but it wasn’t. She was still working two days a week (at the age of 81!) to pay the pitch and maintenance fees and it was all getting to be too much. Her home was expensive to heat, she was struggling financially and her health was getting worse.
81 year old Molly* was referred to our Information and Advice service by the Citizens Advice Bureau so we gave her a call to find out how we could help.
We started with the basics first and our Information and Advice adviser guided her through a benefits check over the phone. Based on the information we had, we thought Molly had a good chance of getting Attendance Allowance – she was finding it hard to look after herself and had had a bad fall. We helped her fill in the paperwork and about 8 weeks later she got her first payment of £81 a week. We referred Molly to the falls team and West Sussex County Council Occupational Therapy team so they could work out how she could be safer at home.
If Molly had been living in a house she would have been entitled to housing benefit, but because she lived in a mobile home the rules were less clear. We made the claim to the council but they said it was the Department of Working Pensions responsibility. We went from the Department of Working Pensions to the local council and back again. After 2 and a half years of battling on Molly’s behalf, we won the appeal and Molly got her money.
Thanks to the persistence of Age UK West Sussex’s Information and Advice team, the rules are now clear: it doesn’t matter whether you live in a mobile or brick built home – you are equally eligible for housing benefit.
Most importantly of all Molly is now £11,500 a year better off. Her housing benefit pays for her pitch fees, her council tax payments were refunded and she was finally able to stop working and enjoy later life by the sea.
In 2017/18 Age UK West Sussex successfully supported vulnerable older people from across West Sussex to access an additional £3 million of benefits. Some of them, like Attendance Allowance are not means tested and come from central government. Could you be entitled to any extra benefits? Call our Information and Advice team on Freephone 0800 0191310 Monday to Friday 10am-2pm and find out now.
*Molly isn’t our client’s real name - it's been changed to protect her identity. All calls to our Information and Advice team are made in the strictest confidence and all data we keep is stored according to the latest rules and regulations including GDPR. When you call, we will ask to record your details on our confidential database. This is so that we can keep proper notes of any information and advice given to you.